On my most recent trip to Cape Town, I got to stay in the newly opened Silo District in the V&A Waterfront, at the gorgeous Radisson RED Hotel (huge thanks to Spree!). I love the Waterfront and to me, it’s unlike any other shopping center because it just offers so much more than just shopping! There’s the amazing choice of restaurants, fun entertainment such as the Cape Wheel and the Aquarium, the Zeitz Moccaa Gallery and a selection of fab hotels such as the Radisson RED. I have stayed at the Radisson Blue hotel in a number of cities and a number of times, but this was my first time experiencing the Radisson RED. What did I think about it? I do have some mixed feelings on a few fronts but let me tell you about our 2-night stay there.
Firstly, let’s chat about how the Radisson Red is different from the Radisson Blue. Radisson Red is an upscale, select service hotel brand that presents a playful twist on the conventional. Radisson RED hotels inject new life into hospitality through informal services where anything goes, a social scene that’s waiting to be shared and bold design that kick-starts the fun. Radisson RED hotels are in vibrant, urban locations where travelers have the unique opportunity to tailor their stay to their style. It is millennial focused, and their philosophy is to connect with an ageless millennial mind-set, so technology is at play here.
Lets speak about the location- it’s fabulous. Located right in the heart of V&A Waterfront, this is the place you want to be when visiting Cape Town. The views from the hotel are gorgeous- I woke up to the serene view of the Waterfront on one side and the Table Mountain on the other side. We took full advantage of our location and had dinners at V&A (Life is my favourite choice), shopped around and walked along the harbor in the evenings. I don’t think you can get better than this location when it comes to convenience, views and vibe.
The service at the Radisson Red is also great, although the interesting thing is that, there is no check-in desk and you have to check in yourself on the provided computers, or download the app to do so. All a cool concept, but honestly after getting back exhausted from the Spice Route, I just wanted to sit down and have someone helped me. However a lovely human did bring a welcome drink to me, and I enjoy that there is a welcome bar- it has snacks and bites in the mornings and drinks in the afternoon.
The staff were very attentive and willing to provide any requests that we had. When we told them that we couldn’t make breakfast on the one morning (as we were catching our flight early), they arranged a little “breakfast box (muffins, croissants, a banana and a juice)” to be delivered to our rooms at 4am. When I told them that I was struggling to take a nap on our 2nd room floor because I could hear the signing that was going down at the V&A, they offered to move my room higher up where the noise wasn’t a problem. Overall, the service at the Radisson RED was great.
I really enjoyed the quirky yet simple design of the rooms at the Radisson Red. Again, it’s all build with the millennial in mind- technology obsessed and minimalistic. The 55” TV is a dream- it has Apple TV, so you can stream anything from your phone onto the screen (we chose Gossip Girl, obvs). The beds are big and oh-so-comfy. The ring light in the bathroom is made to take selfies in. The picnic table has little disposable coffee cups that you can fill on your way out to the Waterfront. The USB ports make charging your phone by the bed an easy job, and overall the completely quirky style of the room is a thumbs up from me. I enjoyed everything in the room, and of course, the view from the rooms is something to remember.
An important part of any hotel stay for me is the breakfast, so I had high hopes for the OUIBar and Kitchen that serves breakfast at the Radisson RED. The buffet style breakfast is served from 7:30-10:30 but you can order all-day breakfast from the a-la-carte menu. However, the breakfast at the Radisson is not what you would expect, and again, it keeps the fast paced millennial in mind. A large selection of the items for breakfast are made for on-the-go person- oats in a tub, fruit and granola cups, sandwiches and pastries that you can pack in a box, is the whole vibe of the place. They are a couple of hot dishes too, but the only eggs you can get are scrambled (a little disappointing to me because I love a good hotel omelette). Even the coffee is served in a take-away cup for people on the run.
You can order room service at any stage of the day on the app, but you do have to go downstairs and pick it up yourself. Because its located in the Waterfront, you can pop out for lunch anywhere, which is what we did on both days. For dinner there is the roof top bar where I have had food before (and it was delicious) but on Saturdays there is only a set menu to choose from (it was a platter of sorts so we decided to skip it and go to the Waterfront instead). It’s not badly priced and the drinks from the red truck on the rooftop were delicious.
This is where I came to be a bit disappointed with the Radisson RED. Firstly, it has a great rooftop bar with amazing views and a DJ, so this is where you want to be if you’re staying at the hotel. The rooftop also has a pool, which you can take a dip in in the morning or lie around by. But unfortunately the rooftop is not exclusive to hotel guests, so when we got there on Saturday it was actually very full and there was nowhere for us to sit. Same thing on Sunday morning when we wanted to have a bit of a lie-around by the pool.
While I do think that it’s great that you can go and chill by the pool even though you’re not a guest, it is a little bit frustrating that if there is some sort of a party happening, you will be denied access even as a hotel guest. Otherwise, it’s a lovely facility and you should definitely try to have a drink with a view there.
The second thing that got to me was the parking, or lack thereof. If you have a car and are staying at the Radisson RED, you have to park at the Waterfront, which is R120 a day. And you won’t get any discount even as a hotel guest. A bit frustrating because this cost either should be factored into your stay, or you should get a discounted rate (side note- I’ve dealt with the V&A before for our own store launch and I know that as a tenant you can buy parking vouchers for your guests). It’s not that R240 was a lot of money, especially because our stay was complimentary, it’s just that that’s a cost that I would normally expect to be covered by the hotel in my opinion.
So it worth staying at the RED? Off peak, a studio room that we stayed in will cost you about R1700 for two people, and it peak time it goes up to about R2500 or so. Given its amazing location and great concept and rooms, I would pay R1700 for 2 people to stay there for sure(just to compare, I normally pay about R1200 to stay at The Hyde in Sea Point, which is also a great option but it doesn’t have these views or food options!). If you want a little breakaway in the heart of Cape Town then I do suggest you visit the Radisson RED. Just maybe try and Uber and not have a car there, and make dinner reservations somewhere else in the Waterfront 🙂